Five of the six deputy clerks in the Rowan County clerk’s office decided that issuing marriage licenses to all who are legally entitled to them is perhaps not such a bad idea since David Bunning, the federal judge overseeing the case, told them that their only other option is to join Kim Davis is federal custody for contempt. Interestingly, and I am not sure why this was not more widely known before today, the sixth deputy who is still holding out happens to be her own son Nathan Davis. While a touching sign if filial loyalty, this also smacks of nepotism.
The lawyers for the couples have proposed releasing Davis if she agrees to not interfere with her deputies issuing marriage licenses and according to a story in USA Today, they were to start issuing licenses tomorrow but a later report says that Davis has refused to authorize them to do so and so she will remain in custody.
Kim Davis’ lawyers called into question whether any licenses issued in her absence would be legal.
But Bunning said couples would have to decide whether to take that risk on their own. He indicated that he would lift the contempt charge against the defiant county clerk if deputies began issuing marriage licenses but said he was reluctant to release her too quickly because of the possibility that she would stop the process and again try to go through the courts in a sort of ping-pong match.
The judge warned all other clerks in the state, including the other two county clerks Kay Schwartz of Whitley County and Casey Davis of Casey County where licenses were also not being issued, that they too were bound by his order so they had better decide soon whether martyrdom is worth it. Casey Davis is supposedly riding his bicycle across the state to garner support for his cause and someone may have to flag him down and give him the news.
In Alabama too a probate judge is refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and has appealed to notorious state chief justice Roy Moore to support him by issuing a landmark ruling defying the US Supreme Court. Moore is quite capable of doing just that, setting up another legal showdown which he will lose, the way he lost when he tried to have a Ten Commandments monument in the Supreme Court building that resulted in him being removed from office.
Meanwhile, we have a ruling by a local judge in Tennessee who goes even further in refusing to grant a divorce to a heterosexual couple because he says that the decision by the US Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage made it unclear what a marriage is and therefore what constitutes a divorce. Or something like that. He seems to be easily confused.
And of course this provides a perfect opportunity for grandstanding politicians like Ted Cruz.
“Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny,” Mr. Cruz said in a statement. “Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America.”
This is getting even more ridiculous. These people are really grasping at straws now.
Let’s see if licenses are issued tomorrow morning.